“Going Forth Firing on All Cylinders”
Since I’m betting that the world will not come to an end and the aliens will not make their presence known again publicly till sometime later, I decided it was high time I proceeded to write my first full-fledged blog. As I tend to side towards optimism, I have decided to make the title my own game plan as well—for what remains of 2012 and certainly going forth into 2013!
I have broken this philosophy of sorts into four separate ways of functioning at my idea of peak level, much like an internal combustion engine: firing on all four cylinders. Since a cylinder is said to be firing when the fuel inside it is ignited, I would like to share the four cylinders set on fire and constantly burning in my life at this point.
First, there’s always Spirit/Soul with me. Many names for it, but to me the one that fits best is Source Energy. That part of me that recognizes the Oneness in this wonderful Universe which we all share. The part beyond our ego/the different jackets we wear, etc.. But, how does that apply to my writing and my life? Well, it applies in my life like this: if you give, then you get—simply put. I’ve had many rather pedantic writers marvel at how I have gotten this far. Indeed, I have asked myself the same question, but more along the lines of, “How in the hell did I get here?” Followed with the realization of, “Oh, crap, now I really have to perform well because the bar has been raised—high!” And, finally, “Where is that damn pole-vaulting stick when I need it?” So, not to get too sidetracked, I have come to the rather obvious answer of: I helped others achieve their goals (that I was naturally aligned with), and the Universe responded. It wasn’t always right away, but it happened! And, it’s still happening…if you’re just starting out as a writer/artist/musician, etc., then it can happen for you, too. Just realize that it may take a helluva lot longer than originally expected! And, with every level comes a new set of challenges. So, enjoy the entire journey, no matter where you are in it…
Second, I follow my heart to take the right action for myself. At least at this point. Too many years I was tossed about on a sea of others’ intentions, which was all fine and dandy for them, but they weren’t my heart’s desires! Even now, I am careful to follow my own heart/intuition first, even if it comes across as too blatantly real (so some mistakenly translate it as fake) rather than be sucked into someone else’s well-polished words and intents. Not that some of them aren’t very worthy for them, but they aren’t all mine, and I am the only ‘Gatekeeper of My Own Heart’s Desires’. It’s a full-time job, no doubt about it, but there’s no one else more qualified for it, so you have to be the ‘Gatekeeper of Your Own Heart’s Desires’, too, for true peace of mind, I believe. Let me give some examples of how my following my own heart/intuition has come into play. Anybody who’s read my memoirs, titled “A Wild and Wonderful Walk,” replete with my formerly hedonistic skeletons happily released from their closet/chamber of mental captivity and now brazenly dancing into the general psyche, may also realize that I’m happily onboard with Animal Rights Movements—in a colossal way! So, how did being my own ‘Goals Gatekeeper’ come into play? Though my sharing on social media. I had some opposition to my sharing the pictures of animals who need to find great ‘fur-ever’ homes before they’re euthanized due to shelter over-crowding and people who don’t spay/neuter their pets (and then can’t take care of all of them). First volleys of criticism I was able to deflect fairly easily. To questions of why I didn’t adopt them, I basically replied, “Because I already have six cats and two dogs, and I don’t want to end up on a show about animal hoarding.” However, if I win the lotto, then setting up an Animal Sanctuary is so on! J No problem, I stood strong and followed my own intuition/heart. Then, rather unexpectedly, I had an animal lover herself accuse me of selfishly parading animal pictures to make myself seem nicer, she thought. Again, it didn’t stop me from showing the pictures of animals that need adopting. I have no hubris where animal rights are concerned, and I don’t care what someone’s perception of me is in the long run. What matters most is what I think of me, and I knew that keeping on with the posting, of the pictures of animals who need adopting, is right—for both my walk and the animals who need great homes—to do!! Then, there are times when I screwed up by not taking into consideration all points of view when posting things on Facebook, but in my defense, I’m a writer, not a politician. J Plus, I have to look at a lot of garbage online that I’m not down with, and I don’t get worked up into a massive hissy fit about it. Instead, I just ignore it. Being true to myself has caused some people to unfriend me, and seriously, that’s quite fine by me. Good riddance! Yet, I still wish them well on their own path. I can assure you I’m not a saint, nor do I aspire to be one; my friends and family, past and present, can attest to that fact. But, I’ll keep on doing what I know is right in my own heart and on my own social networking pages! Everybody has the right to post what they feel resonates with them on their journey. So, in short, my advice would be to always stand up for yourself, as I am now doing for myself! It may not always be easy, but don’t let anybody else put his/her intents in your heart and words in your mouth—unless they’re your own, too. At least that’s what I feel in this second cylinder firing from my heart into action. Your second cylinder may fire differently, and that’s cool, too, as we’re all in this ‘walk’ together.
Third, as I head into the coverage of what makes my third cylinder fire metaphorically, I realize that I may have finally conquered my formerly reluctant-to-be-verbose state. Plus, I’m clearly not opposed to being somewhat ‘rant-y’. J Reminds me of when I was asked to write an editorial, as I couldn’t believe I was actually given license to rant and rave; in fact, it was encouraged. I felt a bit gluttonous afterwards, though, so I’m not sure a diet of this everyday would be good for my health…or for anyone who is reading it! So, proceed at your own risk. There’s still time to turn back! Rub acid in your eyes, all that good stuff.
Still with me?
Well, thank you, and because of your tenacity, I’ll get to the third cylinder, the tofu and taters, if you will, for veggies like me: the mind cylinder firing into action! It’s the Logistics Manager, the nuts and bolts of the whole operation, and the part that houses the Ego. Yes, I think Ego deserves to be capitalized, too…maybe not as much as Spirit, but without Ego not a whole lot would get done. It’s that drive that compels me/you to perform individually. It manifests in the different jackets we don. To make us stand out, to make us perform at our peak…these aren’t bad things. They’re part of the whole picture, too. When I haven’t acknowledged my beckoning ego much, then my performances were oftentimes subpar—maybe not by traditional standards, but by what I knew I was capable of doing. If my dad were still alive, then I’d have to admit to him, “Okay, you were right about this one. Now I get it!”
However, he could have taken a few lessons from me in the Spirit arena. So, how does firing the mind cylinder apply to my writing? This is where some of the tried and true writing tips come in handy. I am a rebel at heart, so if there’s another way to do something, then I’ll always try to find that ‘other way’ first, but sometimes, at least in my own experience, it’s extremely beneficial to learn from other writers whom you admire for their excellent writing skills and overall professionalism. They didn’t just wave a magic wand and have their work completed; it took lots of editing and time. I used to think that my good ideas could be reworked by others into something absolutely fabulous, but it doesn’t work that way…at least for the most part. Plus, I’m not sure anyone could really do my own ideas justice at this point but me. So, many of my Ideas have recently found out that there’s a new sheriff in town: one Sheriff Giles who has a shiny new badge pinned to her particularly stylish ankle-length midnight-colored pleather jacket which reads: Guaranteed to whip you into word submission! (the ‘via a grueling, madness-inducing process’ is not written—simply understood, as it’s not Sheriff Giles’ intent to scare all those Good Ideas away). So, was I a lazy writer at times before? Yes, some of the time, and it showed. Was I a good writer with great, original ideas that were well-executed? Yes, some of the time, and it showed! I think a prime example of my better writing is in my short story titled “Nine Strippers.” The original story is in my book titled “Days and Nights in Summerville.” Because other parts of “Days and Nights in Summerville” are not that great, I don’t promote that book as much now. It took a long time for me to write “Nine Strippers,” and the work I put into it made it stand out from much of my other work. Later on, Raven Digitalis edited it slightly to make sure my Pagan (yes, I like an upper case letter for this word, too—told ya I’m a rebel!) references were correct, but it’s very close to my original version found in “Days and Nights in Summerville.” With his wonderful polishing, it did shine that much more, however, so I’m happy to say that that version is in the book I co-wrote with Lynn Anders/Deanna Anderson entitled “Unputdownable Tales of Terror” —it was released earlier this year. Some authors have asked why I didn’t keep up my Amazon Author Page, etc., and the main reason is because I wasn’t too keen on promoting work that I now realize could have been written better. I know that many authors don’t promote their early works for exactly the same reason…always good to know that I have had company along the way! And, my ego thinks it worthy of telling some of those green-eyed-monster scribely sorts who have criticized my success that maybe they should spend less time picking apart my supposed faults and start learning how to promote themselves better! Many who criticize the most are the ones who are most afraid of public scrutiny because they realize how they’ve pointed fingers at others and don’t want to feel what the hot pokers feel like on the other end. It takes a certain kind of steely determination to stand up under hardcore public scrutiny, and many simply aren’t Amazon warrior-like enough to handle it. Me, well, I love the warriors with ever-expansive hearts. Those who aren’t afraid of failure because they realize it’s only temporary, so they find a way to stand back up and learn to be that much better and come back correlatively stronger every time they’re/we’re knocked down. Learning the proper way to do things is a process most of us can be taught, but being a ‘writing warrior’ who’s unafraid to battle in the arena of life is a different deal altogether.
Fourth, it’s firing on the fourth cylinder, of course: that of igniting your body into action! So, talk of taking care of one’s body in order to ensure that one is able to do just that is not a topic that some writers champion, but I found out the hard way that it’s necessary, too. I had my first eye occlusion earlier this year, and six shots in my right eye later, I’m doing everything I can to avoid more problems. Like taking my ‘pitties’ on long walks in the neighborhood, eating less, etc.. It’s helping. And, walks in Mother Nature or the Concrete Jungle can be great for aiding you wherever you’re stuck story-wise, etc.-wise. I like to pick up bottles and aluminum cans along the way—especially the ones with Coke Rewards Codes, as I’m certain I’m going to win lots of wonderful prizes there—just a matter of time. Anyway, today, I saw one with that kind of cap—hidden behind a thorn bush in the ditch. Before I might not have stopped for that one, as it was in a steep and muddy ditch and the thorn bush was blocking it from the front. But today was different. That gnarly, dirt-encrusted cap would be mine! I looked at my pit-bull, Jetavi, wrapped his leash tightly around my right wrist to keep him away from the thorn bush and made my way down the ditch. Within minutes, I was holding the cap complete with the dripping, cracked plastic container and proceeded back up to the top. Victory! I got a new code to enter, and I recycled the bottle for Mother Nature’s sake. It just took a little more work…And, regarding my ‘eye-stroke’ treatment remedies, ones for the lovely shots in the eye at my doctor’s office, well, I’ve found a way to even make those fun. No, not by becoming a masochist. Rather, I envision myself as a pirate when I visit the office for a shot, but instead of the regular, yawn-inducing small talk, I picture myself saying in my best pirate-voice, “Aye matey, I’m ready fer me shot in the eye now.” In my mind, he then gives the shot, and I proceed to shout loud and menacingly, “Arghh!” Mentally shooting daggers at him with my ‘good eye’ next, and then taking off for the ride home after taking a super stylish eye-patch out of my purse and putting it on. Well-kept parrot? Optional. Pegleg? Forget about it in my fantasy, as I already had to deal with a ‘bum eye’. Moral of this story: keep yourself healthy, or I’ll have to recruit you into my ‘rapscallion pirate brigade’.
Finally, the end of my first full-fledged blog approaches…honestly, I can’t believe you hung in here this long, but I’m certainly appreciative! And, the topic of my next blog will be what I had in mind to portray and why when I wrote “Nine Strippers.” There will be lots of details, so make sure you are ready. So, in closing this my first full-fledged blog, if you want to read more of what I’ve been talking about in a couple of my works which I’ve referenced here, then click on these links to check them out further:
All the best to you in your own walk as well,
(two You Tube videos where I’m interviewed by my friend, Jason D., who wrote “Return from a Comatose Mind”)